"Can", moonshine rice wine
In Vietnam, the rural peasants produce a type of moonshine called Can that is made from fermented rice husks. But this isn't your typical moonshine. Can is only sold in 5 liter ceramic jars, and when you buy it the jar is filled with dry fermented rice husks, but no liquid. You have to fill the jar with water yourself and then let it sit for several hours or overnight. When you return to it, the water has transformed into a potent rice wine. You then take a very long, slender bamboo straw and stick it into the bottom of the jar and begin sucking out the potent brew.
This was definitely one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. And it is something that only the real country folk would drink, definitely not for the sophisticated city dwellers in Hanoi and definitely not something that is marketed for tourists.
Just ask a knowledgable local about it, and you will eventually find someone who can point you to a place where you can find some. Although will probably have to drink it in Vietnam, as I don't know how customs would react to someone bringing in a large jar of fermented rice husks.
Ha Long Bay
Halong Bay is a "Must Visit" if you're visiting Hanoi/Vietnam.
The folk tale has it that the dragons descended from heaven to help locals by spitting jewels and jade to the sea, forming a natural fortress against invading beasts from China.
More Ha Long pics/tips are featured in my Halong Bay page.
Ceramic Vietnamese Girl
Many shops try to overcharge the foriegner. I was walking street by street asking the price for this small ceramic vietnamese doll. The price range from 10,000D to 15,000D.
Finally I got this good deal in a shop in Cao Go, 5,000D. The shopkeeper mistaken me as a vietnamese because I was using vietnamse to ask her the price.
"mot gai baun nyiur" (how much for one)
Some of them can easily recognise you are outsider, some dont. I am just lucky.
This is a nice, casual place to hang out and grab a beer. It is on Ly Thuong Kiet, south of Hoan Kiem Lake, and near Hoa Lo Prison. Though Lonely Planet claimed this place was a bit sleazy (who trusts LP anyway!?), we found it to be very nice and friendly.
Lonely planet recommended but it is totally OVER-RATED in my opinion. 100,000VND per pax for few pieces of fish in oil. Avoid at all means.
When i enter, they brought me this card "we only sell one dish - grilled fish, 100,000VND for one". Looks like they really know that they are popular with tourists. Check out the review of other VTs who went there earlier, you can compared who much have they increased in price.
If you really want to try this local dish, go to Ladybird Restaurant @ 57 Hang Buom, the menu calls it “Hanoi grilled fish”, but it is Cha Ca. You can enjoy it at half the price, twice the portion and in a much better ambience. None.